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Flashbacks…

June 29, 2010

I have been reading a novel about a woman who loses her sight due to conversion disorder (which some would call “hysterical blindness”. The disorder basically covers any physical limitation that comes with no apparent physical cause…but typically following a traumatic event. The book tells of her witnessing an accident that killed her husband, young son and unborn child. Her young daughter survived.

As the images of the accident (for which she blames herself) keep intruding upon her mind she willfully pushes them away and her sight slowly starts to go, too. On some level, even she recognizes the connection. During the two-part novel, she willfully starts seeking her sight again two years later. She has now found a desire to see…a reason to want to see again…and she knows that one key to that is being willing to embrace the memories. So she opens herself to the flashbacks and, in spite of tremendous headaches and heartaches, wills herself to “look”.

On some level…I think what she was to dissociate the memory of the accident out of her mind. That is not exactly uncommon. Many people do not remember accidents they have been in…although, in this case, it was the witnessing of it…not the actual being in it.

It sounds a lot like dissociation to me. Only, in this case, physical blindness also comes. Can something physical like that come with dissociation? I know that when multiples switch there is often complete separation of the outside world to the one who “goes inside”. But that is different…isn’t it? This woman is not split…just dissociative of the memories. My curiosity is where the blindness comes in.

Flashbacks can include the physical sensations of the original event…even to the point of bruising, welts and even bleeding.  Some alters can be blind…or deaf. Is there a connection? I don’t know.

The reason I even bring this up is not because of the blindness…but because of the flashbacks. Flashbacks have been very minimal for me for quite a while. I suspect it is due to the living situation because there really is no “safe”, private place in which to process anything. That is something that is going to change most likely within the next month or two. Life could get really interesting when that happens…which can also be a bit unnerving to think about…so…I won’t.

I was almost finished with the novel when I went to bed the other night. As I lay there…one of the best times for visual flashbacks…I suddenly saw an infant’s toes. The whole infant was there, but my focus was on the toes. I won’t go into the rest of what I saw…but like that woman…I had to fight to “see”. There is this battle whenever visuals come up. Part of me wants to embrace them…to see the truth. Part of me wants to push them away…to leave the mists of amnesia in place.

It is not just the visuals…but the accompanying sense of horror at what I am seeing. Everything in me goes into battle mode…fighting to embrace…fighting to push back. The veil of amnesia is not so bad. Thing is…whatever is in there will eventually just keep pushing out. The next day I experienced emotional flashbacks…the kind I typically will have when I have flashbacks. No visual to explain it…just intense emotional pain.

This morning…I am seeing some visuals here and there. But…again…I am not in a situation where I can invite them to come. Someday…and I wonder what will happen then.

I wrote a poem about this. It will be in the next post.

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2 comments

  1. Now I see where the poem spurs from.. this was a very interesting read. Since we are talking of visuals, I too have something to share. Everyday, I practice certain breathing excercises.. and after following a fixed pattern, the last step is lying flat on the back, and just relaxing…”thinking” nothing. Ofcourse, when the rule is to not think, thoughts seem to keep coming into the mind. And here, the instructor had said, lets the thoughts flow, just do not dwell on them. Breathe them in, and let them flow out in at their own pace. And each day, my experience is different. Sometimes, I laugh during this step, at times i’ve even cried. No kidding! It’s fantastic! But this step is where I get many ideas too… on which I blog later… But holding onto these ideas is pretty tough… Cuz after opening my eyes, I am not so sure if the idea is exactly what it was when my eyes were shut…. phew!! I have no clue if i am making any sense… But your post was so inspiring and thought provoking, that I felt I HAD to
    share this bit…
    Thanks for being being patient with me… 🙂


    • Yes, Kavita, you are making sense! That is also where a pen being handy is helpful. Write down what you remember as soon as you are done.

      I figure that whatever thoughts are lost will come back if they are meant to share. Looking at the idea you wrote may not bring the entire thing back…but it may actually send you out on another trail of thought that is just as good for sharing…or even better!



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